It’s that time of year. We’re all shopping ’til we drop to make sure that we find the perfect holiday gift for everyone on our list. But why not aim for a green holiday season this year? It seems like a natural fit, because in Vancouver the ground is usually green rather than white on Christmas morning.
To help us reduce our carbon footprint, we got in touch with Suzanne Bertani from Green Planet Parties. Her one-stop online shop is all about celebrations. She specializes in locally manufactured decorations, such as handcrafted goodie bag items, compostable tableware for disposable convenience, and little extras like special gifts for Christmas or beeswax candles. Her mission is to change the ending of a celebration. She want severything to be composted, reused or planted at the end of the holiday season, instead of ending up in a landfill. She seemed like the perfect person to help us create a green holiday of our own.
Green Holiday Tips
Here are Suzanne’s tips for a more environmentally-friendly holiday season:
- Reduce and reuse. Pick one item on your list and make it or find it second hand. According to The Story of Stuff, only one percent of the items we purchase are still being used six months later! By taking a little time to think about the lifecycle of your gift, you can reduce your impact on the environment and end up with something truly unique.
- Shop local. Don’t be greenwashed with a tag that says Designed in Canada. It feels good to shop local and support small businesses. You’re reducing the amount of miles an item has traveled, and supporting the local economy. There’s often a great story behind a gift that’s been made here in Vancouver…find out the story and share it when you give the gift.
- Watch out for excess packaging. How many small toys come in giant boxes? Gifts that are heavily packaged in non-recyclable plastic and styrofoam, and tethered to the box with even more plastic, mean a whole lot of trash on Christmas morning. Much of that packaging isn’t even recyclable. So look for gifts with minimal packaging, that can be reused or recycled.
- Wrap it in green. There are a lot of options when it comes to green holiday gift wrap. Decorate packing paper with drawings (get the kids to help!) to use for wrapping gifts. I really love Furochic – if you can tie knots then you can wrap a present with fabric! If watching paper be ripped from a gift is what you’re looking for, invest in seeded gift wrap so that it can be planted after the paper is tattered and torn.
- Send green holiday gifts to school. Collect money to buy a group gift for a teacher. You’ll reduce lots of little trinkets that might not be earth-friendly (or even teacher-friendly) and be able to afford something really nice. If your kids are passing out holiday cards, choose seeded notes that can be planted after the holidays, or give organic candy canes.
- Choose earth-friendly decor. Go on a walk around your neighborhood and collect leaves, pinecones, acorns and other natural items for an earth-friendly holiday centrepiece. Replace paper Christmas crackers with reusable felt, choose reusable advent calendars, and use cloth napkins, and cloth or felt garlands.
What steps do you take to help create a green holiday? We’d love to hear – leave us a reply and share your tips!
Green Planet Parties
*Image credit – Christmas cracker photo by Michelle Goodwin Photography
Amber Strocel is a writer, aspiring math teacher, suburbanite, wife and mom of two. She believes in the power of the Internet to connect people, and she believes that numbers are the poetry of the universe. You can often find her knitting, sewing, volunteering, working in her garden, and sneaking chocolate when no one's looking. She blogs at Strocel.com and shares her photos on Instagram as @AmberStrocel.